The Bankruptcy Process in Maryland and Washington DC

Typical Steps on How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Our Washington DC bankruptcy attorney explains all the steps of how to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy or filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy.First, schedule an appointment with our law office. Our Washington DC bankruptcy attorney will sit down with you to discuss your situation, what options you have and, if needed, the important steps of how to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our bankruptcy attorney offers a free initial phone consultation to discuss bankruptcy options in DC and MD.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process

At your first appointment, there are certain documents that you need to bring:

  • Proof of income – usually six months of recent pay stubs or documents relating to retirement or disability income.
  • All documents evidencing and relating to your debt obligations.
  • You may also provide us with a copy of your credit report to supplement the above-mentioned documents.
  • Copy of deeds to properties owned in the last three years.
  • Copy of last tax return filed.

During our consultation, we will review a bankruptcy questionnaire completed by you to help us determine your Chapter 7 eligibility. Then, we will prepare you for your pre-bankruptcy credit counseling session. You can participate in this session via telephone or online.

Within one to two weeks of your initial office appointment and after you have completed the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling session, you will return to our office to sign your bankruptcy papers that we prepared for you. We will file these papers in court within a few days after we obtain all necessary signatures.

Approximately one month after the filing of your case, a meeting of creditors will be held, which typically lasts two to three minutes. This meeting is short because we ensure your bankruptcy paperwork and filings are in order prior to the meeting of creditors. It is also rare that creditors appear at the meeting.

Approximately three months after the meeting of creditors, the court will mail you your Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge papers. However, within this three month time period, you will have to complete an education course in personal financial management approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office in order to obtain your Chapter 7 discharge. You can complete this court online or by telephone.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process

At your first appointment with our law office, you should bring the following documents with you.

  • Proof of income – usually six months of recent pay stubs, rental leases or documents relating to retirement or disability income.
  • All documents evidencing and relating to your debt obligations.
  • You may also provide us with a copy of your credit report to supplement the above-mentioned documents.
  • Copy of deeds to properties owned in the last three years.
  • Copy of last tax return filed.

During your first appointment, we will review your bankruptcy questionnaire to determine your eligibility for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our bankruptcy attorney will prepare you for your pre-bankruptcy counseling session, which can be conducted online or by telephone.

Within one to two weeks of your initial office appointment, and after you have completed the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling session, you will return to the office to sign the papers prepared for you by our bankruptcy law office.

However, in emergency situations, you will come back the next day to sign bankruptcy short forms. This can stop foreclosure on your house or halt a repossession or sale of a vehicle.

After we file your case, you must pay all secured creditors on time, on the scheduled due date. Secured creditors are creditors who have a lien against property you own, such as houses, vehicles, and personal property (e.g., furniture, jewelry, etc.). In addition, you must commence plan payments to the Chapter 13 trustee one month after we file the Chapter 13 repayment plan with the court.

Approximately one month after the filing of your case, a meeting of creditors will be held. This meeting typically last three to five minutes. At this meeting, the bankruptcy trustee reviews your bankruptcy papers and looks into whether you can afford to pay your regular necessary monthly living expenses, plus plan payments.

Approximately three months after your meeting of creditors, a confirmation hearing will be held. At this confirmation hearing, the Bankruptcy Judge reviews your Bankruptcy filings. If everything is in order and you are current on plan payments, the Bankruptcy Judge will confirm your your Chapter 13 plan without you appearing to court.

After you have funded your plan payments within the subscribed plan payment period, you will receive a Chapter 13 discharge and your case will be closed. However, in order to obtain your Chapter 13 discharge, you must complete an education course in personal financial management approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office in order to obtain your discharge. You can complete this course online or by telephone.